A shot in the arm for the tower defense genre.
You can call Steampunk Tower a tower defense game if you wish, but we feel confident you've never played a tower defense game quite like this one before. There are no aliens to vanquish here, no maze-like pathways for you to strategize around, and no twists where you assume the role of the attacker - while everything else stays pretty much the same as before.
Instead you're tasked with protecting a glorious tower contraption that represents not just a monument to the steampunk aesthetic, but the last defenses of a mine filled with precious resources. Lord Bingham's precious property is under attack, you see, and your job is to stack that towers high with a delicious assortment of weaponry.
As in the typical tower defense game, you start off with a meager amount of money with which to arm your tower. Machine guns can be purchased and slotted into a position left or right of the central column. Cannons capable of clearing entire swathes of enemy can also be brought into play - for a price, of course. Each weapon can only store a limited amount of ammo at any one time too, so you'll have to move each unit in and out of play to take advantage of a faster reload time during idle moments. Those weapons require constant upgrading too, so you'll never be short of priorities to juggle.
Succeed against the incoming barrage of silhouetted balloons, cannons, trucks and troops and you'll be rewarded with research points which can be used to bolster your defenses. You might want to increase the range of your weapons, for example, improve their rate of fire, or just have them pack a little more punch. While you can repeat missions, you'll want to spend these points carefully, as all of the technology trees are branched, and upgrade options become increasingly expensive.
A glance at the screenshots will tell you that Steampunk Tower is a beautifully crafted game, and it's clear that a huge amount of love has been bestowed upon the animations and artwork. A special mention has to be made of the music too - a gorgeously jazzy lounge affair that jaunts along marvelously with your mechanical tinkering.
The only real negative to the game is the god-like special powers - laser beams and lightning storms - that rapidly destroy anything in their path. You'll earn some of the special currency needed to activate them by reaching certain milestones, but you can also buy your way towards making use of them - and they're just a little too powerful in a game you already have to pay for.
That's not nearly problematic enough to cause us any real issues with Steampunk Tower, however, as you can simply choose not to make use of them. It's a wonderfully fresh take on what's become a pretty stale area of mobile gaming over the last 12 months or so, and is simply an essential download for any fan of the genre.
Download Steampunk Tower - iOS
What's Hot:A wonderfully original approach to the genre, with great presentation, and very satisfying gameplay. A new classic for tower defense gaming.
What's Not:The IAP-fuelled "God" powers feel just a little too overpowered.